BATON ROUGE, La (WVLA) – Even one of Louisiana’s top administrators says good news is hard to find in Louisiana’s treasury.
But announcing the state will pay off $370 million in short-term loans, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne seemed content Thursday. “We’re hungry for good news, and this is good news.”
Those payments, beginning May 1, will include $200 million to U.S. Bank and $170 million to JPMorgan Chase. The state expects to pay its final chunks of the loans by June 1, two months ahead of schedule. Dardenne says that means taxpayers won’t have to foot $330,000 in interest rates. “It represents good stewardship of the people’s money, to be able to pay off those loans early,” he told reporters Thursday.
The treasury requested the loans last year, amid a lack of cash from the state’s general fund.
But Louisiana may still be a long way from improving its credit rating, which Standard & Poor’s downgraded last month, from AA to AA-. The agency cited weak revenue and weak tax collections as reason for the drop. Henson still urges that without more revenue in the state, credit agencies may hesitate to restore Louisiana’s rating.
“They’re not going to begin talking about upgrades until we do something to stabilize the revenue side of the equation,” Henson said.
Still, the treasury calls these early payments a small victory in the quest to reassure investors that Louisiana can hold its own wallet.